President Trump has directed FEMA to issue supplemental unemployment benefits, and many are wondering how long it will take for states to administer the funding. According to FEMA's Frequently Asked Questions webpage, the "timeframe to administer funding to individuals will vary by state/territory." The department adds how "states/territories must adjust their unemployment insurance system to access these funds and accommodate program requirements, such as claimant eligibility, which may factor into delivery time state/territory systems and
FEMA goes on to explain: "The Department of Labor estimates an average of three weeks from August 8, as states/territories adjust their systems concurrently with FEMA's review process. However, at least one state has estimated it will have all payments out retroactive to August 1 in less than one week from the grant award." The new unemployment benefit money will be an additional $300 on top of what states can already provide. It comes after stimulus bill negotiation talks broke down between the Trump administration and the top Democrat leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Following this, Trump signed executive orders to get additional unemployment funding sent out to the states.
The president proposed using redirected FEMA money to replace half the $600 in weekly unemployment benefits that expired in July.
One economist calls it "a clunky, untested, logistically and legally challenging way of putting a Band-Aid on the problem."— NPR (@NPR) August 19, 2020
On its FAQ page, FEMA clarified that states have until Sept. 30 to submit their "applications and completed administrative plans... in order to be considered for a grant." The department went on to share, "The Presidential Memorandum was signed on August 8 and FEMA awarded the first four grants on August 14. FEMA must first receive an application from a state/territory."
FEMA adds, "After a state/territory submits its application, FEMA approval time depends on whether the application is complete and addresses all grant requirements. Our experience to date is that FEMA will be able to approve applications very quickly, depending on completeness and sufficiency. Once the grant award is approved by FEMA and signed by a state/territory, funding will then be available within one business day of receipt of the fully executed grant award." Additionally, the program will fund up to $44 billion in supplemental unemployment benefits and will last until Dec. 27 of this year. Additional funding may become available at some time in the near future.